Chestnut Branch Trail to Mount Cammerer

HARD 24 reviews

Chestnut Branch Trail to Mount Cammerer is a 10.1 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Cosby, Tennessee that features a great forest setting and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and trail running and is accessible year-round.

10.1 miles
3,300 feet
Out & Back


trail running



no dogs

This is a great year round hike that offers so much for each season. The hike is straight up from Chestnut Branch Trail from the ranger's station. Follow this for 2 miles until you intersect with the AT. Go south (left) on the AT for about 3.3 miles. There are some great resting spots with views along the way. You will reach the MT Cammerer Trail (not Lower Mt. Cammerer Trail) take this trail of .6 miles to reach the tower; there are a few rocky places to navigate. You are allowed to go inside and look around this tower that was completed in 1939 to provide a watchful eye over the mountains. There are many great views in the Smokies but this provides some of the best in the park.

3 months ago

it was a beautiful hike first couple of miles are straight up great for the heart rate!!! really a wonderful all around hike!!!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

I have only done this from top down. Both times I came up from the Low Gap trail to the AT, each side of Low Gap. Once in the snow and the other in the rain. The mileage is off due to it not including the out and back to the fire tower. The trail distance is to the fire tower trailhead, It is about 1 1/2 miles round trip. Definitely worth it.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Challenging hike, and be very aware of water availability before you begin. I backpacked up this the last week of September in brutal heat/humidity during the drought that preceded the Gatlinburg fires and really paid for not carrying enough water.

It's just shy of three miles to the tower, with no break in the elevation gain to speak of. A couple glimpses of pretty views along the way, but mainly trudging through the trees until the big payoff at the tower itself.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Great hike! But no way is it 10.4 miles round trip. Try 12 miles up and back. The NPS trail signs add up to 6 miles one way. My iPhone health tracker said 13 miles round trip. Believe the NPS signage.

Outstanding views when you get to the Mt Cammerer FireTower - if it's a clear day (posted photos). Some views on hike up the trail, but nothing like those from that fire tower. Inspirational to see that old structure built wth stones hewn from the surrounding rock bed. Those guys on the old CCC crew worked very hard on this one.

I've gone up to this fire tower two other times using the Low Gap trail from Cosby and on the other side of the mountain using Low Gap Trail from the Big Creek Campground in GSMtns NP. Chestnut Branch is the best way, though longer than Low Gap from Cosby.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Nice trail not a lot of views #outsidetherapy

Friday, October 28, 2016

**Facilities at the Big Creek Ranger Station parking lot**

Did this hike on October 20, 2016.
This hike is no joke. It's strenuous, no way of getting around it. The 2.1 miles up to the Chestnut Branch/Davenport Gap junction starts out challenging, but the challenge is quickly amped up during the last mile.
The Lower Mt. Cammerer trail is the AT...keep that in mind...the AT is barely forgiving, and thus is true of the remaining 4ish miles to the last 0.6 miles to the tower. There are no "flat spots", to keep walking while catching your breath. If you need a break, just take one.
It's a beautiful hike, nonetheless, and the last spur to the tower is the best part, in my opinion. We lucked out and had a GORGEOUS day of clear skies and complete 360 degree views. There are many spots on the boulders to rest your legs, and eat a snack, while allowing others to enjoy the views from the tower deck.
The only animal activity we saw was an approximately 500 pound bear, right before we ended out trek on the Chestnut Branch. It was far enough away from the trail, where we all could enjoy our encounter, and not be too close. We quietly watched, and the bear couldn't have cared less. A great end to our day!!

Sunday, October 09, 2016

This was a fun hike in a beautiful area. The fire tower on Mt Cammerer was unique and scenic as well. On the day we hiked, it poured rain most of the day, however, and the views were all hidden by the dense fog. I'll be sure to come back again on a clearer day!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

We did this trail yesterday. Wow! It's no joke. The first section is very steep. What an exciting hike!
Let's see...30 minutes into the hike my husband sees a bear about 10 yards in front of him on the trail. I'm oblivious as I was watching my step (the whole hike was uphill then down) I hear him say something, I ask what and he replies, 'There's a bear, keep walking.' He said the bear looked at him and then lumbered off the trail, uphill. I tried to look as I went past but I wanted to get away from it. So then not 20 minutes later he says, 'Run! There are hornets on the trail.' I look up and sure enough, there they are. Yikes! So glad he's so observant!
The hike was the most difficult we've done so far. The hiking time was 6:40min. 4 hours up and 2:40 down. That doesn't include the hour we spent at the tower. My ankles are screaming at me.
The fire tower is beautiful, built by the CCC, the view is amazing.
We saw a shrew(so cute), a slug, a frog and then on the way down....a rattlesnake!!! It was right off the trail slithering away from us. Of course my husband spotted it. It was so beautiful and looked like velvet. We stood about 10 ft away just watching. It didn't even rattle, so we felt OK. He was just doing his thing, didn't even care we were there. Amazing!!!
Today my feet are doing well, but all of my joints are screaming at me. Trekking poles are a must. We hike all the time and this was doable but challenging. Coming down the AT was wonderful but it got real after that.
Would I do it again? Probably not. But I'm so glad we did! The fire tower was amazing! The hike was beautiful. Do it! You won't regret it! I gave it 5 stars.

Saturday, July 23, 2016


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Nice trail. Just fyi, no dogs are allowed on any trails in the Great Smoky National Forest.

Saturday, May 14, 2016


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

About 12 miles out and back with all trails combined (Low Gap Trail to - AT - Mt. Cammerer trail). ~3,000 elevation change, took me 4 hours to summit and come back that includes about a 20-30 minute break at the fire tower. The first 2.9 miles are pretty steep and rough to get up. Then once you hit the AT there is a bit more climbing but much more relaxed as you are basically hiking the ridge. The last 2 miles are pleasant on top of the ridge with nice balds every once in awhile and rhododendron. The view is amazing, best I've seen in the Smokies so far. A treat of a hike, and leaves you feeling nice and worked out! #solohikes

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Was not most enjoyable hike, however view is my favorite in the smokies

Thursday, November 05, 2015

You'll find the trail-head located just past the parking lot of Big Creek Ranger Station. Its starts steep, but soon levels out to a very manageable climb up to the AT, sans a brisk switchback here and there.

The 3.3 mile workout on the AT up to the Cammerer Trail is rewarded by a beautiful ridge line hike - sandwiched between two very nice overlooks facing the east, while Cammerer's craggy head looks down on you from above.

Returning from the Cammerer Trail, the perspective views back down the AT are even better than going up!

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Excellent views and a unique 'west-coast' style fire tower. This is a very intense hike so be prepared!

Friday, April 25, 2014

This is a great hike with one of the best views has 360 degree panoramic view can see Mt Sterling fire tower, I40, and NC. Their is plenty of water at the base of trail but ounce past the first mile their is no water plan accordingly, Trail is steep and rocky in parts. The last .6 of the AT is very easy.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The only part of this trail I did was the portion from Lower Mt Cammerer junction up the AT to Mt Cammerer. This portion of the trail is steep and rocky. Lots of breaks were needed. I've done this in sun, snow and cool fog, every time it's just as rough. At one point there is a large rock that you can climb to see a great view!

9 months ago

10 months ago

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Wednesday, August 12, 2015